Archives for May 2016

Using both pockets

A disciple remarked to Rabbi Bounam from Pssiskhe:

“The material world seems to suffocate the spiritual world.”

“Your pants have two pockets,” said Bounam. “Jot down this sentence and put it in the right pocket: ‘The world was created only for me.’ Now write in the left pocket: ‘I am nothing but dust and ashes’.”

“Divide your money between the pockets. When you come upon misery and injustice, remember that the world exists only so that you can show your kindness, and use the money in the right pocket. When you are tempted to buy things that you haven’t the least need for, remember what is written in your left pocket and think twice before spending it. In that way the material world will never suffocate the spiritual world.”

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Manuel goes to Paradise

Paulo Coelho

One day our dear, honest, dedicated Manuel ends up dying – as will happen to all the Manuels, Paulos, Marias and Monicas in this life. And here I resort to the words of Henry Drummond, whose brilliant book “The Supreme Gift” describes what happens from this point on:

“All of us at some moment have asked the same question as every other generation: “What is the most important thing in our existence?”

We want to use our days in the best possible way, for nobody else can live our lives for us. So we need to know where we should direct our efforts, what is the supreme objective to be met.

We are used to hearing that the most important treasure in spiritual life is faith. Many centuries of religion rest on this simple word. Do we hold faith to be the most important thing in the world? Well, we are quite wrong.

In his epistle to the Corinthians, chapter XIII, Saint Paul takes us to the early days of Christianity. He ends by saying: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”

This is not some superficial opinion of the author of these words, Saint Paul. After all, talking about Faith a moment before, in the same letter, he said: “And though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Paul did not avoid the question; on the contrary, he compared faith and charity and concluded: “(…) the greatest of these is charity.”

Matthew offers us a classic description of the Day of Final Reckoning: the Son of God sits on a throne and like a shepherd separates the goats from the sheep.

At that moment the great question for human beings will not be: “How did I live?” but rather: “How did I love?”

The final test of all quests for salvation will be Love. No account will be taken of what we did, what we believed in, what we achieved. None of this will be asked of us. What we will be asked is how we loved our neighbor. The mistakes we have made will not even be remembered. We will be judged for the good we have failed to do. Because keeping Love locked up within ourselves is to go against the spirit of God, it proves that we never knew Him, that He loved us in vain, and that His Son died to no avail.”

In this case, our Manuel is saved at the moment of his death, because although he never gave any meaning to his life, he was capable of loving, providing for his family, and doing what he did with dignity. However, although it is a happy ending, the rest of his days on earth were very complicated.

Repeating a phrase I heard from Shimon Peres at the World Forum in Davos: “optimist and pessimist both end up dying. But they each use their lives in a completely different manner.”

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Witches and pardon – Part 2

Paulo Coelho

[…]

But I also met many people who were truly capable of dealing with forces that were far beyond my understanding. I saw time being altered, for example. I saw operations without anesthesia, and on one of these occasions (precisely a day that I had woken up with many doubts about man’s unknown power) I placed my finger inside the incision made with a rusty pocket knife. Believe it as you wish – or ridicule it if that is the only way of reading what I am writing – I have seen metal being changed, cutlery twisted, lights shining in the air around me, because somebody said that would happen (and it did). I was almost always with witnesses, generally skeptical. In most cases these witnesses went on being skeptical, always thinking that it was all just a very clever “trick”. Others said it was “the work of the devil”. Finally, a few believed that they were witnessing phenomena that went beyond human comprehension.

I have seen this in Brazil, France, England, Switzerland, Morocco, and Japan. And what happens to most people who manage to, let us say, interfere with the “immutable” laws of nature? Society always considers them as marginal phenomena: if they cannot explain, then they do not exist. The vast majority of these people also fail to understand why they are capable of doing astonishing things. And for fear of being labeled charlatans, they end up suffocated by their own gifts.

None of them are happy. They all await the day when they can be taken seriously. They all await a scientific answer to their own powers (and in my opinion I do not think that is the solution). Many hide their potential and end up suffering – because they could help the world, and they do not manage to. Deep down I feel that that they are also waiting for the “official pardon” for being so different.

Separating the wheat from the chaff, and not growing disheartened by the giant amount of charlatanism, I feel that we should ask ourselves once more: what are we capable of?

And then go out and seriously develop our immense potential.

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Witches and pardon – Part 1

Paulo Coelho

On 31 October 2004, resorting to a feudal law that was abolished the following month, the town of Prestonpans in Scotland granted official pardon to 81 persons – and their cats – executed for practicing witchery in the 16th and 17th centuries.

According to the official spokesman for the Barons of Prestoungrange and Dolphinstoun, “most of them had been condemned without any concrete proof – based only on the witnesses of the accusation, who declared that they felt the presence of evil spirits.”

There is no point in recalling once more all the excess of the Inquisition, with its torture chambers and bonfires of hate and vengeance. But there is one thing that is very intriguing to me in this news item.

The town and the 14th Baron of Prestoungrange & Dolphinstoun are “granting pardon” to the people who were brutally executed. Here we are in the heart of the 21st century and the descendants of the real criminals, those who put innocent people to death, still have the right to “grant pardon”.

In the meantime, a new witch hunt is beginning to gain ground. This time the arm is no longer red-hot iron, but rather irony or repression. All those who, in developing a gift (generally discovered by chance), dare to speak of their capacity, are mostly either looked on with suspicion or else prohibited by their parents, husbands and wives to say anything about it. Having interested myself from an early age in what they call the “occult sciences”, I came into contact with many such people.

I believed in charlatans, of course. I dedicated time and enthusiasm to “masters” that later on dropped their masks, revealing the total void in which they found themselves. Irresponsibly, I took part in certain sects and practiced rituals for which I had to pay a high price. All this in on behalf of a quest that is absolutely natural to man: the answer to the mystery of life.

[…]

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The rest of this story will be posted here on Wednesday

Coragem

“A primeira qualidade do caminho espiritual é a coragem”, dizia Gandhi.

E, segundo o monge tibetano Chögyam Trungpa, a primeira qualidade do homem valente é lutar por aquilo que possa ser útil a toda a humanidade.

O mundo sempre parece ameaçador e perigoso para os covardes. Estes procuram a segurança mentirosa de uma vida sem grandes desafios, e se armam até os dentes para defender aquilo que julgam possuir. Os covardes são vítimas do próprio egoísmo, e terminam construindo as grades da própria prisão.

Mas os homens e mulheres valentes projetam seu pensamento muito além das paredes do quarto. Sabem que, se não fizerem nada pelo mundo, ninguém mais o fará.

Então tomam parte do bom combate da vida, mesmo sem entender direito porquê.

Fifth deadly sin : Gluttony

According to the dictionary: feminine noun, from the Latin gula. Excessive eating and drinking, voracity, greediness.

According to the Catholic Church: Inordinate desire for pleasure related to food or drink. One should not appreciate foods that are bad for health. One should not pay more attention to food than to those that accompany us. Unjustified intoxication is a complete lack of sense and a mortal sin.

According to Peter de Vries: Gluttony is a disorder; it means that something is devouring us inside.

From the “Verba Seniorum” (The Wisdom of the Ancients): The Father Abbott was strolling with a monk from Sceta, when they were invited in to eat. The owner of the house, honored by the presence of the priests, gave orders to serve what was best.

However, the monk was fasting. When the food arrived, he picked out a pea and chewed it slowly. He ate nothing further.

Upon leaving, the Father Abbott said to him:

– Brother, when you visit someone, don’t make your holiness an insult. Next time you are fasting, don’t accept invitations to dinner.

Recipe for goose liver with truffles: Clean the goose livers impeccably, chop the liver and truffles into small cubes. Line entirely a small, high pie dish with several small strips of bacon (the strips should be very finely cut). Season with a little salt and pepper and scatter on top some small pieces of truffle. Place the remaining pieces of liver and truffle in successive layers. Seal the pie dish hermetically using a strip of pastry made of flour and water and bake the foie gras in a bain-marie in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Afterwards, place a weight on top to compress the mixture.

Hunger in the world: The number of hungry people in the developing countries should drop from the present 777 million to around 440 million in 2030. This means that the goal of the World Food Summit agreed upon in 1996, of cutting by half the number of hungry people compared with the levels found in 1990-92 (815 million), will not be achieved even in 2030. Sub-Saharan Africa is a reason for great concern because the number of chronically undernourished people will only fall probably from the present 194 million to 183 million in 2030 ( Source: FAO report – World agriculture: Toward 2015/2030)

In a Sufi fable: A baker wanted to meet Uways, so Uways went to the bakery disguised as a beggar. He began to eat a bread roll; the baker beat him and threw him out into the street.

– Madman! – said a disciple arriving – don’t you see that you threw out the master you wanted to know?

Contrite, the baker asked what he could do for him to forgive him. Uways asked him to invite him and his disciples to eat.

The baker took them to an excellent restaurant and ordered the most expensive dishes.

– That is how we distinguish the good man from the bad man – said Uways to the disciples, in the middle of lunch. This man is capable of spending ten gold coins on a banquet because I am famous, but he is incapable of giving a bread roll to feed a hungry beggar.

Comment from the Tao Te King: Thirty spokes are fitted together in the cube forming a wheel. But it is its middle empty space that allows the car to be used. Model some clay to make a vase. Cut out in the empty space of the walls doors and windows so that a room may be used.

In that way someone produces what is useful but it is the empty space that makes it effective.

E quem ataca artista, está fazendo o que?

Agora virou moda atacar artistas que não concordam com o golpe. E para isso, usam os seguintes exemplos:

falta dinheiro para saúde, infraestrutura, etc
todos se beneficiam da lei Rouanet

Concordo com a primeira argumenta’c~ao. O PT começou bem mas, com o passar dos anos, se tornou um partido como todos os outros. Vicios do poder – aqui e em qualquer lugar do mundo.

Entretanto, quem diz que falta dinheiro para saúde, está fazendo o que? Está por acaso visitando hospitais e consolando os doentes? Se o governo não cumpriu sua parte, não caberia a cada um dos brasileiros cumprir a sua? Reclamar nas comunidades sociais é muito simples – mas absurdo e completamente ineficaz. Dizer que artista se beneficia da lei Rouanet como se fosse uma “mesada”, é de uma ignorância além dos limites.

Se falta – como efetivamente falta – cuidado com doentes e hospitais, faça a sua parte. Qualquer dinheiro ajuda – e se não tem dinheiro, vá visitar os tais hospitais sem leito e pelo menos, como dizia Jesus, console os doentes. Divida um prato, compartilhe uma palavra de carinho: “porque tive fome, e me destes de comer; tive sede, e me destes de beber; era forasteiro, e me acolhestes;”

Usando meu exemplo pessoal. Tenho tres grandes projetos que financio exclusivamente com meus direitos autorais:

Solar Menino de Luz, na favela Pavão Pavaozinho, que se ocupa de 430 crianças
Hospital da Irmã Dulce, em Salvador (doação mensal para certas alas)
Orfanato de Nhá Chica, em Baependi (doação mensal para o orfanato)

O Lula, quando era presidente, passou NA PORTA do Solar, e não se deu ao trabalho de entrar. Se entrasse, teria feito uma grande diferença, porque a imprensa internacional estava com ele. Mas vou ficar reclamando dessa indignidade, ou vou continuar fazendo o que acho?

Não vou perder meu tempo explicando o que é a (ultrapassada) lei Rouanet. Quem quiser que leia seu texto. Nunca me beneficiei dela. Assim como nunca o Ministerio da Cultura comprou qualquer livro meu para ser distribuido em escolas e bibliotecas – embora gaste uma fortuna com isso todos os anos. Mas eu faço as doações, e me orgulho disso.

Então, parem com essa babaquice de achar que artista está ganhando milhões. Visitem hospitais. Colaborem com um mínimo de dinheiro, ou com um máximo de calor humano. Parem de jogar a responsabilidade nas costas de governos, que foram, são, e serão sempre incompetentes.

A primeira providencia de governos autoritários (Stalin na Rússia, Hitler na Alemanha nazista, os golpes latino-americanos dos anos 60/70) foi culpar artistas. Não caiam nessa armadilha

Paulo Coelho

10 SEC READ: I must accept the blessings of today

I need to live out all the blessings that God has given me today. Blessings cannot be saved for a rainy day.
There is no bank with a safe deposit box for them. If I do not enjoy these blessings today, I lose them forever.

God knows that we are artists of life. One day He gives us a chisel, another we may receive brushes and a canvas, and still another day He gives us a pen to write.
But we will never use a chisel on canvas, or pens on sculptures. Each day has its own miracle.

I must accept the blessings of today, and create what I can with them; if I can do this easily and without guilt, I will receive more blessings tomorrow.

Creating a painting

How the city was pacified

How the city was pacified

An old legend tells of how a certain city in the Pyrenees mountains used to be a stronghold for drug-traffickers, smugglers and exiles. The worst of them all, an Arab called Ahab, was converted by a local monk, Savin, and decided that things could not continue like that.

As he was feared by all, but did not want to use his fame as a thug to make his point, at no moment did he try to convince anyone. Knowing the nature of men as well as he did, they would only take honesty for weakness and soon his power would be put in doubt.

So what he did was call some carpenters from a neighboring town, hand them a drawing and tell them to build something on the spot where now stands the cross that dominates the town. Day and night for ten days, the inhabitants of the town heard the noise of hammers and watched men sawing bits of wood, making joints and hammering in nails.

At the end of ten days the gigantic puzzle was erected in the middle of the square, covered with a cloth. Ahab called all the inhabitants together to attend the inauguration of the monument.

Solemnly, and without making any speech, he removed the cloth.

It was a gallows. With a rope, trapdoor and all the rest. Brand-new, covered with bee’s wax to endure all sorts of weather for a long time.

Taking advantage of the multitude joined together in the square, Ahab read a series of laws to protect the farmers, stimulate cattle-raising and awarding whoever brought new business into the region, and added that from that day on they would have to find themselves an honest job or else move to another town. He never once mentioned the “monument” that he had just inaugurated; Ahab was a man who did not believe in threats.

At the end of the meeting, several groups formed, and most of them felt that Ahab had been deceived by the saint, since he lacked the courage he used to have. So he would have to be killed. For the next few days many plans were made to this end. But they were all forced to contemplate the gallows in the middle of the square, and wondered: What is that thing doing there? Was it built to kill those who did not accept the new laws? Who is on Ahab’s side, and who isn’t? Are there spies among us?

The gallows looked down on the men, and the men looked up at the gallows. Little by little the rebels’ initial courage was replaced by fear; they all knew Ahab’s reputation, they all knew he was implacable in his decisions. Some people abandoned the city, others decided to try the new jobs offered them, simply because they had nowhere to go or else because of the shadow of that instrument of death in the middle of the square. Some time later the place was at peace, it had grown into a great business center on the frontier and began to export the best wool and produce top-quality wheat.

The gallows stayed there for ten years. The wood resisted well, but now and again the rope was changed for another. It was never put to use. Ahab never said a single word about it. Its image was enough to change courage to fear, trust to suspicion, stories of bravado to whispers of acceptance. After ten years, when law finally reigned in Viscos, Ahab had it destroyed and replaced by a cross.

Kazantzakis and God

During his whole life, the Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba, The Last Temptation of Christ) was an absolutely coherent man. Although he touched on religious themes in many of his books – such as an excellent biography of Saint Francis of Assisi – he always considered himself a confirmed atheist. Well, this confirmed atheist wrote one of the most beautiful definitions of God that I have ever come across:

“We gaze with perplexity at the highest part of the spiral of force that governs the Universe. And we call it God. We could give it any other name: Abyss, Mystery, Absolute Darkness, Total Light, Matter, Spirit, Supreme Hope, Supreme Despair, Silence. But we call it God, because only this name – for some mysterious reason – is capable of making our heart tremble with vigor. And let there be no doubt that this trembling is absolutely indispensable for us to be in contact with the basic emotions of the human being, emotions that are always beyond any explanation or logic”.

Ben Abuyah and learning

Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah used to say:

“Those who are open to life’s lessons and who nurture no prejudices are like a blank sheet of paper on which God writes his words with divine ink

“Those who are always looking on the world with cynicism and prejudice are like a sheet of paper already written upon and on which there is no room for new words.

“Don’t bother about what you already know, or what you don’t know. Don’t think about the past or the future, just let the divine hands write down each day the surprises of the present”.

“My subject is my life”by Casanova

The reader of these Memoirs will discover that I never had any fixed aim before my eyes, and that my system, if it can be called a system, has been to glide away unconcernedly on the stream of life, trusting to the wind wherever it led.

I will begin with this confession: whatever I have done in the course of my life, whether it be good or evil, has been done freely; I am a free agent. My success and my misfortunes, the bright and the dark days I have gone through, everything has proved to me that in this world, either physical or moral, good comes out of evil just as well as evil comes out of good.

I am bound to add that the excess in too little has ever proved in me more dangerous than the excess in too much; the last may cause indigestion, but the first causes death. I know that I have lived because I have felt, and, feeling giving me the knowledge of my existence, I know likewise that I shall exist no more when I shall have ceased to feel.

My errors will point to thinking men the various roads, and will teach them the great art of treading on the brink of the precipice without falling into it.

Worthy or not, my life is my subject, and my subject is my life.

by Giacomo Casanova

10 sec read: The Catholic and The Muslim

I was talking to a Catholic priest and a young Muslim man over lunch. When the waiter came by with a tray, we all helped ourselves, except the Muslim, who was keeping the annual fast prescribed by the Koran.

When lunch was over, and people were leaving, one of the other guests couldn’t resist saying:

“You see how fanatical these Muslims are! I’m glad to see you Catholics aren’t like them.”

“But we are,” said the priest. “He is trying to serve God just as I am. We merely follow different laws.”

And he concluded: “Its a shame that people only see the differences that separates them. If you were to look with more love, you would mainly see what we have in common, then half the world’s problems will be solved.”

An excerpt from the book : Like the Flowing River

WHY…

DON’T YOU CREATE SOME SCREENSAVERS WITH YOUR GOALS FOR 2016?

Just be very precise:

a] list your goals (give wings to your soul)

b] put the dates
E.g.: – My weight will be xx kgs in 31/Dec/2012 ( don’t use the negative sentence, like “I am going to lose x kgs”, as the subconcious is visual, it never registers the “no”)
– I will travel to xx in (month)
– I will start practicing (sport, language, skill) for X hr a day, 3 times a week

With a screensaver, you will be constantly reminded, your brain will be programmed, and you will manage it – if you don’t quit in the middle!

You can use any photo or image to write your intentions. If you want to use the powerful mandala that I normally use (The warrior of light = the sun, the moon, the sword of the warrior) you can find it >>> here

“If you chase your dreams, your dreams will chase you” (Paulo Coelho, that’s myself and I have this type of screensaver)

10 SEC READ: Moses (ENG, PORT, ESP, FRA)

Moses parts the waters

“Sometimes we get used to what we see in the movies, and end up forgetting the true story,” a friend said to me once while we were looking at the port of Miami, “Do you remember the Ten Commandments?”
Of course I remembered. Moses, played by Charlton Heston, at one point he raises his wand and with that action the waters were divided and the Jewish people walked through it.
“In the Bible it is different,” said my friend. “In the Bible, God orders Moses to do this by saying, ‘the children of Israel are to go forward,’ and only after they start walking does Moses raise his wand to part the Red Sea.

“Courage in the path is what makes the path manifests itself.”

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Moisés divide as águas

“í€s vezes a gente se acostuma com o que víª nos filmes, e termina esquecendo a verdadeira história”, diz um amigo, enquanto olhamos juntos o porto de Miami. “Lembra-se dos “Dez Mandamentos? ”
Claro que me lembro. Moisés – Charton Heston – em determinado momento levanta seu bastí£o, as águas se dividem, e o povo hebreu atravessa a grande água.
“Na Bí­blia é diferente”. Comenta meu amigo. “Ali, Deus ordena a Moisés: “diz aos filhos de Israel que marchem”. E só depois que comeí§am a andar é que Moisés levanta o bastí£o, e o Mar Vermelho se abre”.

“Só a coragem no caminho faz com que o caminho se manifeste”.

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Moisés separa las aguas

-A veces la gente se acostumbra a lo que ve en las pelí­culas, y termina olvidándose de la verdadera historia -dice un amigo, mientras observamos juntos el puerto de Miami -. ¿Te acuerdas de “Los diez mandamientos”?
-Claro que me acuerdo. Moisés (Charlton Heston) en un momento dado levanta su bastón, las aguas se separan, y el pueblo hebreo pasa a través de la gran masa de agua.
-En la Biblia no ocurre eso – comenta mi amigo – Allí­ Dios le ordena a Moisés: “Diles a los hijos de Israel que caminen” y sólo después de haber comenzado todos a andar, Moisés levanta el bastón y el Mar Rojo se abre.

»Sólo la valentí­a durante el camino hace que el camino se manifieste.”

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Moí¯se partage les eaux

« On s’habitue parfois í  ce que l’on voit dans les films, et l’on finit par oublier la vraie histoire », dit un ami, tandis que nous regardons ensemble le port de Miami. « Te souviens-tu des Dix Commandements ? »
Bien sí»r, je m’en souviens. Moí¯se – Charlton Heston – í  un certain moment lève son bí¢ton, les eaux se fendent, et le peuple hébreu traverse la mer.
« Dans la Bible, c’est différent », remarque mon ami. « Lí , Dieu ordonne í  Moí¯se : “Dis aux fils d’Israí«l de se mettre en marche.” Ce n’est qu’après qu’ils ont commencé í  marcher que Moí¯se lève son bí¢ton et la mer Rouge s’écarte.

« Seul le courage sur le chemin permet que le chemin se manifeste. »